Port of Virginia container capacity expansion fails to stall drop in H1 volumes

Container throughput at the Port of Virginia fell by 12.4% in the first half of 2020 from the same period last year despite continued expansion of the port’s container capacity.

Total container throughput at the facilities centered on Norfolk fell to 1.27 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in January-June 2020 from 1.45 million TEUs in the first six months of 2019, the Virginia Port Authority said.

Overall June container volumes at the port rose by 4.4% from May to 210,669 TEUs as international trade rebounded somewhat from the depths of the coronavirus impact, but were still down by 12% from June 2019.

The Port of Virginia handled the third largest volume of containers among US east coast ports in 2019 with 3.15 million TEUs and is looking to build on its market share of about 14% with the further expansion of the port’s container capacity.

In July last year, the port completed a three-year, $320 million expansion of the Virginia International Gateway (VIG) container terminal, doubling container capacity to 1.2 million TEU/year. VIG now has 12 super post-Panamax cranes that can service as many as three Ultra-Large Container Vessels simultaneously.

Further expansion is underway at the port’s Norfolk International Terminals (NIT), where 14 super post-Panamax cranes operate.

Another two ship-to-shore cranes will be put into operation by December 2020, bringing the total to 16 cranes spread over two berths, the port authority said.

Platts Container Rate 6 – North Asia to East Coast North America – fell to $3,275/FEU on July 21 from $3,300/FEU at the start of the month, while Platts Container Rate 9 – UK-Continent to East Coast North America – held steady at $1,800/FEU since July 1.
Source: Platts

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